In Section 8 you are a member of one of two warring factions of humanity with access to high tech armor and weaponry that puts Iron Man to shame; giant mechs, tanks, and a vast assortment of weapons are yours to blast your opponents into oblivion. So what would anyone do with this kind of weaponry? Why of course they would launch themselves into the atmosphere so they can come straight down on top of enemy and then call in ships to drop the rest of their equipment from the sky. This the basic premise of Section 8 and its arena style combat.
Do you want to know the deep and rich back story behind the war your fighting? How have humans come to colonize other planets and what type of technology they use? Read the game manual. The single player campaign of Section 8 is so minute and condensed that the majority of information about the characters and the ongoing rebellion of the Arm of Orion is found in the game manual. In the single player mode you will be doing much the same as the other two modes of Section 8, firing weapons, hacking terminals, calling in airdrops, and dropping from the sky after you’ve been downed over and over again. You could play as Private Corde for a few fleeting hours experiencing the dissatisfying and empty story or you can play online multiplayer. I recommend the latter.
Multiplayer, Instant Action, and Corde’s story comprise the three game modes of Section 8. Each has a sub set of options, for instant, different difficulties, online or LAN, and even multiple modes in instant action which change the conditions of a match from varying degrees of unfairness. The only mode worth mentioning is Multiplayer, since it will be the only opportunity you will have to play against a human opponent complete with their ability to improvise and strategize. A human player’s imperfect aim is much preferred over the zero to uber solider difficulty of the bots in single player modes. The main objective in multiplayer is to capture and defend control points in order to generate a large enough score to achieve victory. Like the capture the point mode made famous by the Battlefield titles, this means controlling more points than the other team is key to victory.
To speed things along Section 8 also awards points for each frag, hack of a control point, or defusing of a hack during a match. A form of currency is also added to a player’s in game stats when they score a point giving them access to support structures, heavy armor, or a tank to help with combat. The support structures include an anti-aircraft gun to keep spawning enemies from getting the drop on you, a supply depot that repairs armor and structures as well as replenishing ammo and allowing a player to switch classes mid-combat, a radar array that detects enemies, a mini-gun turret and a rocket turret which are best against infantry and armored vehicles respectively.
Players themselves have a wide variety of different options when picking a class to play as; with two weapon slots, two support items, and 10 points that are distributed over 9 different attributes called passive modules. The basic weapons are a sniper rifle, rocket launcher, assault rifle, pistol, shotgun, and machine gun which all have expected attributes. The pistol and shotgun are better for close quarters, the machine gun and assault rifle are better for medium range, and the sniper rifle and rocket launcher are best when fired from a long distance. The support items include everything from grenades to a repair tool to fix yourself, your teammates, and friendly structures and armor. Experimenting with the different customizable options was both fun and frustrating for me as it took a while before I settled on a load out that fit my play style and didn’t have any functions that I didn’t use. When I did hit that sweet spot where the attributes complemented by play style multiplayer matches became much more enjoyable.
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